SNP MP John Nicolson has highlighted the “sinister” tactics of the LGB Alliance after he dared to praise a trans constituent on Twitter.
Addressing the House of Commons on Wednesday (24 March), Nicolson spoke of the “poisonous storm” of online anonymity that allows trolls to routinely target politicians with misogyny, homophobia and racism.
In particular he singled out an incident where the LGB Alliance offered to reward anyone who made a donation to it in Nicolson’s name, prompting its followers to hit him with hateful abuse.
“I praised online a young trans constituent of mine last year who’d bravely spoken of her life in a BBC documentary,” Nicolson said. “Almost instantly a sinister organisation called the LGB Alliance began trolling me.
“They offered the reward of a retweet to anyone who donated money to it in my name. I was, as a result, deluged by abuse from anonymous accounts.
“I was called a rape enabler, a misogynist, and although I’m an openly gay man, a homophobe. As an openly gay man I was also called a greasy bender.”
The MP condemned Twitter for failing to act against the group, which claims to represent the interests of LGB people but focuses on campaigning against trans rights.
“The organisation concerned, the LGB Alliance, was thrown off the country’s two largest crowdfunders as a hate group,” he said. “But Twitter wouldn’t take their account down, despite clearly and egregiously violating Twitter’s own rules.”
“I’m a man in my 50s, the experience wasn’t pleasant,” Nicolson continued, “but I was acutely conscious of all the young trans people reading the venom and despairing. They have, after all, been subjected to a vile online onslaught in recent weeks and months.”
He concluded his speech by calling for greater accountability online, suggesting an optional form of “verification” to prove identity. Users could then choose whether to block unverified accounts to stem the abuse.
“Who among us does not seek to stem the avalanche of poison, abuse and disinformation?” he asked. “Will the social media companies embrace such proposals and self-enforce? The evidence suggests not.
“The government need to get tough. Soft-touch regulation is not working.”
His disclosure about the LGB Alliance was welcomed on Twitter as swathes of followers thanked and praised him for speaking out.
PinkNews has reached out to the LGB Alliance for comment.